Tito Jackson, man of mayoral action?

It’s just about the worst kept secret in town: Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson seems very likely to challenge Mayor Marty Walsh’s reelection bid next year.

Jackson has said publicly only that he is “strongly considering” a run, but the Globe’s Meghan Irons reports that signs are pointing increasingly in that direction, including Jackson’s hiring of a Kentucky-based fundraiser.

Though Walsh has sought to solidify his standing with voters through a recently announced property tax break and other initiatives, Irons points out that the mayor’s first term has not gone all that swimmingly. Two former aides are under federal indictment, there is anxiety in the air over possible school closings, and the Olympic bid and IndyCar race both flamed out. Jackson, a Roxbury-based district city councilor, was a harsh critic of the Olympic effort who sought to pry loose documents on the bid.

The best way to neutralize a would-be foe is to line up on the same side of an issue. In that way, last month’s charter school ballot question made for an interesting dance. Walsh, a longtime charter booster, came out strongly against the measure, arguing that would destabilize the city’s finances. Jackson tried go a step farther, practically becoming the Boston face of Question 2 opposition as he made himself available for countless forums and debates on the issue.

The Globe sticks with the powerful dynamic of racial identity in assessing a potential Walsh-Jackson matchup, with UMass political science professor (and one-time Walsh campaign consultant) Erin O’Brien telling the paper, “Walsh is not vulnerable to another white guy Democrat.” By that measure, there seems to at least be an opening for Jackson — a black guy Democrat.

Voters also look for a degree of ideological compatibility with a candidate. Walsh, who won the backing of a number of key minority figures, including Jackson, in his 2013 run, managed to win over a good chunk of liberal voters for whom neither he nor John Connolly, his final election opponent, may have been a first choice.

Like Tom Menino before him, and Ray Flynn before him, Walsh is a workaday son of white ethnic Boston who has smartly turned leftward and made the cause of various progressive activists his own — whether it’s embracing new tenant protections or launching a citywide conversation on race issues. In that way, it will be hard to find a big expanse by running to his left, while it would be pointless to run to his right in a city where more conservative white voters are becoming a vanishing species.

Jackson — should he take the plunge — will start by trying to energize the city’s black community, which accounts for about a quarter of Boston’s population and grow from there into other minority communities and among liberal-leaning whites.

The odds facing him would be long. At this point, Walsh enjoys a 100-1 funding advantage, sitting on war chest of $3.3 million to Jackson’s pocket change of $32,000.

No one has unseated a Boston mayor in 67 years — and the 1949 race that saw John Hynes pull off the feat came after incumbent James Michael Curley had served a stint in federal prison.

Contested races are good for officeholders and for the communities they serve. They make candidates sharpen the case for their election, and can allow for a healthy give and take on the issues of the day. The low-water mark for Boston mayoral politics unquestionably came in 1997, when Menino ran unopposed for a second term.

At this point, two things, seemingly at odds with each other, are both true: A Jackson victory is hard to imagine, but an uncontested race for mayor of Boston is something no one should want.




Marijuana is legal in Massachusetts — but you can’t legally buy or sell it or grow more than 12 plants. (Boston Globe) With marijuana now legal, police departments are phasing out pot-sniffing dogs. (Patriot Ledger)

Nine hundred state workers took advantage of an early retirement incentive program aimed at saving the state money and avoiding layoffs. (Boston Globe)


Boston has spent more than $1.5 million in legal fees defending a questionable drug test for police based on hair samples that an association representing minority officers maintains discriminates against black officers. (Boston Herald)

The Boston City Council rejected on a 10-3 vote a proposal to add a 2 percent city tax on all alcohol sales. (Boston Herald)

The state’s Public Records Law appears to be used as a political weapon in Ashland as 76 of the 101 requests made of town departments this year come from other town officials and most are never picked up after money and resources are expended fulfilling the requests. (MetroWest Daily News)


Thanassis Cambanis decries the slaughter taking place in Aleppo — and the breakdown of international norms that has enabled it, including inaction by the US. (Boston Globe)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren lands a coveted seat on the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee. (Boston Globe)

Warren tells Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham she was wrong to rip hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson, she called him to say so, and removed her Facebook post that set off the dust-up. Yesterday’s Download took stock of Warren’s high-profile misfire.

Some of the nation’s Democratic state attorneys general, including our own Maura Healey, are copying a page out of the GOP playbook and plan on using the courts to thwart Trump administration policies they think conflicts with their constituents’ progressive agendas. (New York Times)

First Mitt, says Joan Vennochi, now Carly Fiorina joins the parade of one-time harsh critics playing the part of supplicants in their audiences at Trump Tower for possible positions in the new administration. (Boston Globe)

The GOP-controlled legislature in North Carolina is making the extraordinary effort to strip the governor’s office of executive power and control over his appointments following a bitter, drawn-out race in which Democrat Roy Cooper squeaked by incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. (New York Times)


The Federal Reserve ended the year with a hike in its benchmark interest rate, only the second increase by the nation’s central bank since the Great Recession. (U.S. News & World Report)

Airbnb severs ties with a homeowner in Worcester after receiving complaints from neighbors who said the repeated rentals were changing the character of the neighborhood. (Telegram & Gazette)

Herald baseball scribe Michael Silverman applauds the ban on hazing rituals included in the new Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement.

The Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission has recommended that the lease with an 80-year-old campground in North Truro be allowed to lapse after owners of the resort clear cut 11 acres to install a sewer system for expansion without permission. (Cape Cod Times)


Civil liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate decries the shoot-first-ask-questions-later approach that he says characterized the response of Babson College President Kerry Healey and other officials at the school to a recent incident involving two students who paraded their support for Donald Trump around the Wellesley College campus. (Boston Herald)


A state delegation starts two days of meetings today in Minnesota to learn about the state’s health care system. (Boston Globe)

There could be an upside to the youth obsession with video games: lower drug use, except marijuana, among teens, according to a study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. (McClatchy News Service)

A Webster paramedic is accused of sexually assaulting a female patient in the back of an ambulance. (Telegram & Gazette)


Rep. Denise Provost lets its rip on the Green Line Extension and the MBTA’s “fiscal wrongs” against Somerville. (CommonWealth)


DONG Energy and Eversource Energy form a 50-50 partnership to bid on offshore wind contracts. The move accelerates the Massachusetts utility’s expansion into energy-related businesses and raises questions about whether Eversource can both hand out offshore wind contracts and vie for them at the same time. (CommonWealth)

Carl Gustin says the regional power grid needs more natural gas infrastructure; winter reliability initiatives go only so far. (CommonWealth)

Greater Boston takes a look at two controversial energy projects in West Roxbury and Weymouth and weighs the pros and cons of both with principals on both sides.

The Barnstable County Commissioners voted 2-1 to end their 20-year administrative agreement with the Cape Light Compact, which purchases power in bulk for the 21 towns on the Cape and islands, and require the compact to act as its own agent. (Cape Cod Times)


A Globe editorial supports new legislation to make it easier for those wrongly convicted of crimes to collect damages from the state.